Before a company receives its China manufactured products from an international port, there is one thing they must understand – product labeling. US companies must ensure that their products have proper labeling with the country of origin. This blog briefly discusses what every importer of record must know about labeling requirements.
A China manufacturer is not responsible for properly labeling products for the American market. That responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the entity importing the goods into the USA.
Product Labeling Requirements
Most countries have legal requirements regarding labeling. A label can inform the consumer about a variety of things:
- Country of origin
- Safety testing compliance
- Product materials, size, and general information
- Warning labels
- Miscellaneous consumer instructions
There are labeling requirements that apply to most product categories. As an example, every product label in the US must indicate the country of origin, like the “Made in China” commonly printed above or below the UPC codes of many products. Europe and Australia have similar but different labeling categories.
Labeling requirements can also apply to specific categories of products such as electronics, parts/components, toys, and textiles. Each product has its own unique labeling requirements. Failing to properly label manufactured products will become an expensive error at some point.
Who is Responsible for Proper Labeling?
The importer of record is ultimately responsible for ensuring that products have proper labels and that they have the standard compliance that controllers establish for them. While some are most offshore factories will not be aware of these labeling requirements or the proper testing and certification thereof. It’s good to note that 100% of the offshore factories American companies use to manufacture goods are NOT responsible for these details. Therefore, you, as the importer of record must provide your offshore manufacturer with the artwork showing the labels that should be displayed and applied to your product.
Companies that purchase wholesale (ready-made) products from offshore sources must be particularly careful to ensure labeling. This is because offshore manufacturers do not make products specifically with US or European Union labeling requirements in mind. They are focused on the product itself. These manufactured products are typically devoid of labeling specific to any country or, at best, have generic labels only. Before they are imported, companies must be sure to label them and ensure they are in compliance.
Communicating Labeling Requirements to Your China Manufacturer
US companies must research which labeling requirements apply to their particular products and then design the labeling artwork accordingly. Let’s take apparel and attire, for instance. You’ll want to supply the brand labeling and care instruction labels.
Ensure your manufacturer is also aware of the following:
- Label dimensions
- The label material and print type
- Label color
A good practice is to discuss in advance what artwork program the maker uses to create labels. This can streamline the operation. High-quality, experienced factories may be familiar with certain types of labels and file documents but you never know and this is not something you want to take for granted. Labels must also be inspected and proofread with the same enthusiasm as the product itself.
You May Need “Professional Help”
Navigating through labeling requirements, standards, and testing that may be required for your particular product may be tedious but it is absolutely necessary. There is much to consider: country of origin and understanding Prop 65, to FCC and CPSIA product regulations to name a few.
Different product categories require different types of labels. Toys and children’s products, transportation-related items, medical devices and equipment, shoes and apparel, electronics, sports products and especially products that touch food all require some sort of label. Trying to locate and understand each labeling regulation can be confusing and time-consuming.
A professional offshore manufacturing liaison company can help. Although various regulators expect your company to know more about your industry and the requirements, an experienced offshore manufacturing liaison can offer advice and guidance to help cover all the bases. ITI Manufacturing manages the complete offshore manufacturing process and guarantees no manufacturing defects. If you have considered China manufactured products in the past and experienced challenges or if you are considering offshore manufacturing for the first time, we can help you.